It is hard to believe it is a year and a quarter since I wrote the post The Importance of Work when you have Fibromyalgia. At that point, I still had my paid job as well as my work. Of course, four months later things changed. My health was no longer stable enough to continue with my paid employment. That was when I wrote the post, So I asked to be dismissed. Let me first say this because it is crucial. It was not that I became unreliable, but my health did. If you are struggling with your health, it is so easy to start labelling yourself in negative ways which are even more detrimental to your health. I’ve decided to give you a different way of looking at your symptoms. I like to consider them as my companions. In this post, I’m going to introduce you to the first four.
My new companions
Since I left my employment ( I miss many things about the job as well as lots of my colleagues), I have continued working because I still consider it to be vital. The majority of that work is what you can see here. My blog, my crafting and my genealogy. Of course, working at home, I no longer have colleagues around me anymore, but instead, I have companions so I thought I would tell you about them and describe my relationship with each of them.
“Ache” was one of the first to join my team, he can be relied upon to show up every day and is pretty consistent in his duties. As my companions go, I have worse. Although Ache is a constant fixture by my side whatever I am doing, he is not too intrusive. When I am sitting at the computer or the craft desk, he doesn’t interfere very much unless he thinks I have been doing something for too long. At that point, he is always nudging me. I’m glad really if Ache didn’t poke me like that Pain would come along and kick ache out of the way. Pain is a bit of a bully like that.
“Pain” joined the team in the very early days too. She is a complete prima donna! Unlike Ache who is a constant companion Pain shows up whenever she fancies. I’ll give it to her she has undoubtedly mastered hot desking. Whenever she comes to join me, she plonks herself down wherever she feels like it. Her working hours are ridiculous as she turns up at any time of the day or night. I’ll be honest; I much prefer it when she doesn’t show her face. I sometimes have a few free hours without her, and even better she occasionally takes a day off, bliss – she is near the top of the queue for issuing a P45 too!
Foggy is a bit of a dude; I’m sure he is on something… There are times when I am sitting at my computer typing away with perfect clarity then Foggy passes by my desk, and I just can’t find the words I am looking for! Sometimes I don’t even notice he is here. I’ll glance back at what I have written and realise it seems like the I was typing with jumbled keys. Ache may give me warning that Pain is heading my way, but he never lets me know what Foggy is up to. Foggy is one of the companions that is often here first thing in the morning but then slinks off somewhere and tends to appear again later in the day. It is worse when he sits next to me. I can be looking at a document and suddenly feel like a child, like a simple business document is too “grown-up” for me to be reading. All in all though Foggy is more of an irritant, he is far behind the likes of Pain in the queue for dismissal.
Twitchy is a part-time companion. She shows up most often for the late shift. Usually when I am sitting watching TV Michael will say twitchy much, and I will realise she is here. Her favourite place to turn up is in my neck and lower jaw. I guess she is giving me a bit of a workout and she may be warding off the wrinkles a bit. When she first appears without my knowledge, I am barely aware of her but once I have noticed her she is full on in my face. It is as if my brain likes her or something and want to help her. Something very subconscious becomes almost deliberate, and I struggle to stop Twitchy doing her thing. Like Foggy, she is an irritating companion, but usually, I can put up with her.
So it’s a joke?
It is important that I state here that although this is a very lighthearted way of looking at these symptoms I am in no way saying having Fibromyalgia is a joke! These symptoms are genuine, and they are life-changing. The message I am trying to convey is that the symptoms are just that, symptoms of a condition that I (and perhaps you if you are reading this) have. They are not you; you are still in there. You still have a personality and thoughts and feelings, hopes and desires like anyone else. You have a chronic illness rather than being one.
Giving Symptoms a voice
Although this is a piece of fun, it is an incredibly healthy way of looking at things. By providing my symptoms names and even personalities of their own, it stops me from labelling myself and also dismissing myself. I may sometimes get angry with Pain when she stops me doing something I wanted to, or she interferes so much that I “lose a day,” but I am cross with her and not with myself. Depression is a prevalent symptom which I do everything in my power to keep at bay. The way I see things is that my companion symptoms may have a firm grip on my body, but I do not wish to let them get hold of my mind too – Foggy tries his best, but I’m still winning.
Would you like to meet more of my companions?
If you have enjoyed this style of post and you would like to meet more of my companions do please let me know in the comments! You must forgive the illustrations of the characters. These characters are one of my first attempts at digital drawing, and I have always said I am a crafter, not an artist or illustrator. I am almost slightly proud of them for a first attempt. I think they help to get across the personality of my crew ? in case you are wondering I used Affinity Designer to draw them. I already have the Affinity Photo and enjoy using it so I downloaded a trial of Designer to give it a go too (I think I’ll be buying it!)